If your only experience with running past age 10 or so was “getting in shape” for some other sport or simply to lose weight, then you probably don’t really believe running can be fun — at least, not for you.
That’s what my sister thought when we began training last spring for the Swiss Days Race, a 5K held every July in the nearby town of Berne, Ind.
As I mentioned in a previous post, Traci is a fitness freak. She walked faster than I could jog. She made me miserable, but I kept at it for two reasons:
1. I knew running would increase my rate of weight loss.
2. I knew that once I lost enough weight, I could run far enough to really enjoy it.
I knew this because I’d done some running in my early teens, and so I had a faint memory of how it felt to float along the ground, mile after mile. Traci knew she could finish the race because she’d done it a few years earlier without bothering to train much. When it came to fitness, she was willing to endure almost anything. But she hadn’t run since, and when we began training — jogging the length of her cul-de-sac and then walking back — she still didn’t necessarily think she would enjoy it.
As we began jogging more and walking less, we moved out onto the River Greenway in Bluffton, our hometown. Traci kept pushing us, and by June we were running the length of the trail and back, 4.3 miles without stopping. By fall we ventured into the adjoining state park, going 6 and even 10 miles at a time.
We loved being in great shape, but we also loved the exhilaration factor.
“I could just feel the fat falling off my body,” Traci says.
Now she wonders why she spent all those years speed walking when she could have been running. And I wonder why I let myself get so out of shape. But we both agree: Better late than never.